Researchers in Osaka, Japan have unveiled the Telenoid R1, an androgynous robot that offers as physical presence for remote users.
In the age of networked communities, many of us are used to forging relationships with people across the world; often, communication is quite regulated to virtual representations (i.e. text, pictures, avatars). With video chatting starting to bridge gap into the real world, it was only a matter of time before the physical world started entering the digital world more pervasively.
Part human robot, part avatar, researchers at Osaka University in Japan are developing the Telenoid R1 with the intention of creating a physical presence between the user and its remote user:
The Telenoid R1 is endowed with only the most basic human features — just enough to recreate the physical presence of the remote user, according to robot’s creators. The robot’s androgynous and ageless look makes it suitable for a wide range of users, whether they are male, female, young or old.
Researchers use an example of how an English lesson would be conducted with students from a remote location; this may prove interesting in terms of children’s development of gender identity, for it is already well documented that avatar communities operate as gateway social networks for the rising post-millennials, where embodying gender can often seem ambiguous. Therefore, would interactions with an androgynous being further blur these static categories?
[via: Pink Tentacle]